Australia / NZ

Islamic Microfinance - Business Proposal Competition

CGAP, Deutsche Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Grameen-Jameel announced the Islamic Microfinance Challenge 2010: Innovating Sustainable, Scalable, and Market-Driven Models. The contest is a joint initiative to promote the innovative design of Shariah-compliant products for Islamic microfinance clients.

The organizers are seeking original Islamic microfinance business proposals which are profitable, sustainable, scalable, and Shariah-compliant. Finalists of this competition will be awarded with grant funds as well as need-based technical support to launch a pilot project of their proposed business idea.

It offers a unique opportunity to showcase innovative business ideas, gain industry-wide recognition, and benefit from the funds and technical expertise of leading institutions in the microfinance and Islamic finance sectors.

The World's Sukuk Markets are good medium-term growth prospects, says S&P

Medium-term growth prospects for the world's sukuk market are good, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a report published today. In addition, we understand from unofficial market sources that about US$10 billion more could potentially enter the pipeline. If that comes to market, total sukuk issuance in 2010 could approach the current 2007 record of US$34.3 billion. The main uncertainty this year is market conditions.

Report on Social Responsibility Trends at Islamic Financial Institutions

The report on Social Responsibility Trends at Islamic Financial Institutions presents the results of an extensive survey on Social Responsibility at Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs) carried out during summer and fall of 2009 by DinarStandard and Dar Al Istithmar with the support of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Some key findings of the survey were:

Clients: 100% of respondents answered yes to having a policy to screen prospective clients which is actively implemented. Similarly 97% have an organizational policy that deals with client responsibly.

Employees: 83% of respondents’ state having policies that provide equal opportunity to all their employees, 93% have policies that ensures merit-based salary and promotion, and 86% having policies that specifically prohibits any kind of discrimination. However, when it comes to having policy to monitor employees from different backgrounds and gender, the response was mix with only 52% admitting to having such a monitoring policy and 48% not having any such policy.

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Calling Islamic financial institutions to become member of the United Nations Finance Initiative

IslamicFinance.de is calling Islamic financial institutions to become member of the UNEP Finance Inititiave to learn and contribute to international best practice in ethical and faith based finance:

"UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector. Over 180 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance."

membership information package:
http://www.unepfi.org/fileadmin/forms/MembershipInformationPack.pdf

World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists - Haiti Emergency Cell

PRESS RELEASE

Oak Brook, Illinois, January 13, 2010: The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) expresses its utmost sorrow on the massive devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti, a Caribbean nation suffering with utter poverty. To ensure rapid and effective response to this tragedy, we have established an emergency cell that will closely monitor and assess the situation on ground, and will serve as the bridge between the global community of donors and partner humanitarian agencies. WCMP anticipates working closely with the Organization of Islamic Conference, United Nations, Red Crescent Societies, and other reputable agencies present or familiar with the region.

WCMP urges philanthropists, foundations, and corporations in general and of Muslim world in particular to join us in this multi-partner relief effort. Please direct your communications to the following address:

WCMP- Haiti Emergency Cell
Imtiaz Khan, MD
ikhan@thewcmp.org
+1-630-242-2792

With best regards,

WCMP Secretariat

Reuters Plans Islamic Finance Portal

The international financial services information company Thompson Reuters is planning to launch a news portal covering information about the Islamic financial industry in early 2010.

Islamic finance fits for Australia

Australia's wealth of natural resources and financial landscape provide a natural platform for Islamic finance, with potential to attract a new type of global investors. Trailing Muslim neighbours such as Malaysia and Indonesia, Australia is looking at developing Islamic finance to attract wealth and create jobs.

The Australian and Malaysian governments held talks this week to cooperate in Islamic finance. The Australian government has expressed interest in Islamic finance but so far it is limited to small entities such as the Muslim Community Cooperative (Australia) Ltd and Iskan Finance which offer home loans. One of the biggest obstacles to the development of Australia's Islamic finance market is tax law.

Zawya Sukuk Report for Free Download

The Zawya Collaborative Sukuk Report covers the following issues:

  • What is the distribution of current and potential investors and what is their appetite?
  • What is the appetite of the Supply side and what drives their need to issue?
  • What are the challenges faced by the industry, what are the associated developments and what needs to be done to resolve them?

The download is free after providing contact details to Zawya:

Funds at Work analysed the Social Responsible Landscape

Funds at Work, the strategy consultants analysed the Social Responsible Investment industry with their network analysis. Previously the firm did analyse the Sharia Scholars and their board positions. The report regarding the sister industry of Islamic finance can be downloaded for free.

3rd World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists: Call for Submissions

“BUILDING A BETTER WORLD”

New Horizons - Sound Strategies

The Ritz Carlton – Doha, Qatar

March 21-22, 2010

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Deadline: November 30, 2009

The annual conference of World Conference of Muslim Philanthropists, now recognized as the most prestigious forum on Muslim philanthropy worldwide, invites papers as well as proposals for sessions and workshops showcasing innovative, cutting-edge and experimental work.

THEME AND TOPICS

The conference will focus on how the integrated efforts of philanthropic, public and private sectors can effectively respond to the worsening global issues of hunger, poverty, disease, climate change and conflict. The forum will also host interactive roundtable discussions on Aid-effectiveness and Impediments to Building Capacity for Transformational Change. To further elucidate the theme “Building A Better World: New Horizons-Sound Strategies,” the conference will feature a special session on emerging markets philanthropy and global trends in giving.

WCMP Launches Multi-Donor Giving Circle to Combat Hunger and Poverty

PRESS RELEASE

Washington, DC, October 16, 2009

The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP) is launching its first multi-donor giving circle—the “Hasanah Fund”—to develop and implement new, sustainable programs to combat world hunger and poverty.

The Fund will secure $100 million from philanthropists, foundations, and corporations in the next five years to fund long-term hunger eradication and poverty alleviation in 20 countries facing the ongoing food crisis. Funded projects will address not just the aggregate quantity of food that must be produced and distributed, but also how food is produced and by whom.

Hasanah Fund will complement the exemplary work of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Islamic Development Bank towards hunger, which is affecting over one billion people worldwide. “This initiative clearly demonstrates the enduring commitment of Muslim philanthropists to the social and economic upliftment of the poorest people,” says Dr. Tariq Cheema, CEO of WCMP.

Free Report: Islamic Investment Banking

Yasaar Media published a report about Islamic Investment Banking for free download, with the co-publishers Unicorn Investment Bank, Doha Islamic covering data and principles regarding Private Equity, Venture Capital, syndicated lending, real estate, asset management, fund manageement, liquidity management, treasury, trade finance and capital markets in an Islamic context.

Special Issue - Call for Papers on Financial Crisis

The International Journal of Islamic & Middle Eastern Finance and Management has decided to publish a special issue of the journal, focusing on the latest financial crisis, and how this has related to Islamic financial institutions.

Other relevant points include:

  • Proposed title of the special issue: Islamic Financial Institutions and the Global Financial Crisis 2008/09.
  • Deadline for receiving papers: Friday, February 12th, 2010
  • Date of publication: fourth issue of Volume 3 (2010).
  • Papers will be reviewed in the normal fashion.
  • Technical notes will also be acceptable, and they will be assessed in the usual manner.
  • We are likely to have a total of five articles in the issue.
  • Books relevant to this major event can also be reviewed for the issue.
  • All branches of the Islamic financial services sector can be covered in materials within this issue, including banking, insurance (i.e. takaful), fund management, investment portfolios, business management etc.

Research Study: Food security in an environment of increasing scarcity

The research think tank of Deutsche Bank published recently a research study with the title:

"The global food equation"

stating the challenge for future food security. DB Research believes that still believes that the growing population can be fed, provided the recommended actions are taken, requiring innovation, and a change in the system of production and distribution along with sustained productivity growth in an environmental and socially sustainable manner.

The report can be downloaded for free.

Updated Report about Sharia Scholars in the GCC and now International - Funds at Work

6.10.2010: Report is update and again free for download

3.9.2009:
Funds at Work, a strategy consultant for the fund industry, updated its analysis on Shariah scholars' engagement in financial service organisations in the GCC countries and now internationally covering companies with 956 (498) Sharia Board positions and 180 (121) scholars.

The study shows that the Top 5 scholars make up at least 30.15 % of the entire univese of almost 956 board positions. The Top 5 scholars internationally (ex GCC) out of 70 scholars active beyond the GCC - make 58.21 % of all positions (201 board positions).

The detailed summary of the study is free for download.

S&P: Sukuk Market Has Continued To Progress In 2009, Despite Some Roadblocks

Press Release

PARIS, September 2, 2009--New issuance of sukuk (bonds compliant with Islamic law) topped $9.3 billion in the first seven months of 2009 compared with $11.1 billion during the same period in 2008, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a report published today, "The Sukuk Market Has Continued To Progress In 2009 Despite Some Roadblocks."

"The smaller amount of issuance was due not only to the still-challenging market conditions and drying up of liquidity, but also to the less-supportive economic environment in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, particularly in the United Arab Emirates," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Mohamed Damak. "The medium-term outlook for the sukuk market remains positive, though, in our view, given the strong pipeline--with sukuk announced or being talked about in the market estimated at about $50 billion--and efforts to resolve the major difficulties impeding sukuk market development."

Professor Buiter: Islamic finance principles to restore policy effectiveness

Lack of capitalisation of banks, households and the state is a key policy issue according to Professor Willem Buiter, who wrote a blog in the Financial Times online. Instead of defaults and bankruptcy with all its associated costs he suggests to turn debt to equity as the more efficient economic solution; calling explicitly the application of Islamic finance principles for this purpose as a possible solution.

The new power brokers: How oil, Asia, hedge funds, and private equity are faring in the financial crisis

A new McKinsey Report is released reviewing the performance of the so-called "new power brokers" being sovereign wealth funds, private equity and hedge funds during the financial crisis.

The power brokers' collective performance in the financial crisis, though better than the sharp declines in wealth of most institutional investors, masks an important shift: Asian sovereign and petrodollar investors emerged as more influential than ever, while hedge funds and private equity saw their previously rapid growth interrupted.

In a 2007 report, MGI labeled these four groups of investors the “new power brokers” because they had gained enough wealth and clout to influence global financial markets. MGI revisited the power brokers to examine how their fortunes diverged over the during the financial crisis that unfolded in 2008 and projects where they may go from here, using a scenario approach.

The full report can be downloaded for free after registration:

First Islamic real estate fund in Australia

The first onshore Shariah-compliant real estate fund in the Australian market, The LM Australian Alif Fund, was officially launched at end of May in Bahrain. The fund is managed by LM Investment Management Ltd., a specialist Australian income funds manager operating internationally and which is aimed at Islamic investors who are looking for opportunities in alternative investments and in new markets.

Mushtak Parker interviewed Ken Scott-Hamilton, general manager (Middle East), LM Investment Management Ltd., for Arab News about the rationale behind launching the fund and the opportunities and challenges for Islamic finance in Australia.

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